Day 3: Meet my Best New Friend
Passage: Luke 5:1-32
Jesus looks past our exterior and sees the potential of who He can created us to be. He calls us out of darkness into the light.
Reflection – Lord, open my eyes to the opportunities you give me to shine your light in the dark spaces around me. Help me to see past the exterior and see people through your eyes. Give my your compassion and help me to extend your love to those who the world has rejected.
Makes me think of this song.
– Ames –
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This year’s Christmas was a bit different from Christmases in the past.
At our previous church, the Christmas church service would always be on Christmas eve and then we’d stay at church until midnight and wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’ before going home. Christmas Day would usually be spent with family on mum’s side, feasting and exchanging gifts.
This year, the exect decision was to go on a ‘retreat’ of sorts with members of our church family. It probably wasn’t as practical as it was first thought out (not everyone was staying full-time) but God used it for His glory anyway (Isn’t it good that we serve a God who can make something good out of our own bungles?). It was much more low-key; no decorations at the campsite at all but plenty of time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
Though I received fewer gifts this year, I felt very blessed to have been given the greatest gift of all – the reason for the season – Jesus.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
– Philippians 3:8-9 (NIV)
– Ames –
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
– Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)
I firmly believe that God’s heartbeat is for unity, not against it. To bring about unity requires love. Because where there are people, there are problems. Why problems? Because in every situation, we bring along our own set of views, opinions and baggage which most likely will differ at least to a certain degree from the person that we are in conflict with. What do we do then? Do we stand on opposing sides, demanding the other to back down, else they will suffer the consequences that we believe they rightly deserve?
My question is always, “What would Jesus do?” What would the people who are chosen by God do? The answer I think is clear in the above passage in Colossians. Clothe yourselves with love or as the NIV reads, Put on love.
“If I take offense easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.” – Amy Carmichael
– Ames –
Saw this on Instagram this morning:
I had a little giggle.
Continuing on from yesterday, I asked myself, What does Easter mean?
Two words came to mind. The first was Redemption. The Bible from the beginning to end is a story of redemption. A story of how God redeems his people time and time again. The Israelites rebel, they suffer the consequences, they repent, God forgives and all is well for a while before the people forget of how good it is to be walking with God and start going their own way again. Each time the repented, the people would need to kill a lamb to atone for their sin – disobedience to God. The lamb would be unblemished to represent purity. From what I’ve heard (I will do more research about this later), there was a process whereby the man (it was always a man in those days) would put his hands on the lamb as a ritual to symbolise that his sin was being transferred into the lamb before it was slaughtered.
But this was only a temporary measure. Continue reading
I’ve been in church since I was a few weeks old and through the years, I’ve heard/sung/played a countless number of hymns. There are some hymns that will always stick in your mind (i.e. ‘Amazing Grace’) and some that you only realise the significance of at different stages in your life. Last Sunday, one hymn became of the latter.
As I sung the words to ‘The Old Rugged Cross’, all of a sudden they weren’t just words on a screen, they were declarations from my heart:
This year, just like the last, my parents and I skipped town on Valentine’s Day. It was unintentional (it was just what fitted our schedules) but I’m happy to make a tradition out of it!
On the way to the city of surf beaches, I reflected on how much had happened in the past year. There have been so many changes, not just for me personally but our family unit as well. By far, the biggest change for us was moving home churches. We did not know what was in store but we knew God was guiding our steps in a different direction and to remain where we were would have been ineffective and out of God’s will. Through human eyes it would seem that we had walked away defeated but in fact we were just stepping into God’s plan and purposes.
As weeks turned into months, I kept wondering why I wasn’t feeling upset or lonely at my new home church where there is no one my age or at my stage in life. I had left a youth group that was showing so much promise and a group of girls I had not been able to picture life without. But God was/is faithful. He led me to build community with a group of Christians at uni who are passionate about doing the Lord’s business and He opened new doors to minister to teens/young adults that I would have completely missed out on if I had stayed in a place that was comfortable and safe. And now in a few weeks time I will be preaching my first sermon (pray for me!!)!
Now, one year on, I can look back and say, ‘Ah God, I see now what you were up to! I see how your “goodness and love follows me all the days of my life”. Not just the happy days but also the more challenging ones too. No experience is ever wasted and no situation is too difficult to overcome when You are walking with me.’
This is not the post I set out to write but I guess it is the one that is now written. Though I have mentioned how I wanted to be more structured in how I approach this blog, I still want to give myself room to write from the overflow of the heart. So this has been just that :-).
Find comfort today, dear readers, that God is for you and never against you. He wants to bless you but more importantly He wants you to know Him. It’s never too late to turn your life over to Him and experience the life you were meant to live!
May you be alert to the goodness and love of God in your life and praise Him for it today!
Before this goes public on my main blog, I thought I’d post the link here to a special video message from this side of the blogosphere :).
Be safe wherever you are in the world and may you have the opportunity to experience the true joy, peace and hope that is celebrated at Christmas time :).
On a whim and with the encouragement of my parents, I decided to attend a prayer meeting last night that was being held as part of the first ever Global Day of Worship (which is still happening by the way if you are interested). I slipped into the back of a service that had already been going for 9 hours already and was instantly overwhelmed by the presence of God in that place.
There were horns being played, flags being waved, the speaking of tongues, prayers and declarations over Australia, the music of the harp and guitar mingled with the singing of praise and worship… and in the midst of it all, I spent the first 10 minutes with my head down in tears. What struck me is that what I saw before me was possibly a glimpse of heaven, with the young and the old, all difference nationalities gathered together in one place, all with one heart, lifting their voices to their Creator.
I saw no one my age there but instead of feeling awkward or left out, I was humbled to be apart of that group of brothers and sisters. It’s amazing how there was a sense of community even though I had never met these people before – this is what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.
The Church is uniting – there is strength in unity. It was encouraging to see but almost a bit scary as well because it may mean that our generation could indeed be the one that sees how this story ends… but I was reminded that we should not fear but instead be alert, awaken from our slumber and preoccupation with temporary things to prepare the Church, the Bride of Christ for His return.
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah 60: 1-3
let your faith be bigger than your fear.
do whatever it takes to master it.
– One Passion One Devotion
It sounds a bit odd to say/type it out but I feel… I feel like I’m changing. I feel like there is a pull on my heart for more. Like there is ‘more’ for me than the here and now… what ‘more’ means/is, is another matter. I don’t know what it is but I know I want it now more than ever before.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that He has been taking me through a detox for my soul in the last few months, perhaps even the last year or two. He has brought me to the end of myself time and time again, so that the ‘head’ knowledge of who He is, translates into a real ‘heart’ understanding of His desire for me… for all of me. Not just my Sundays, my prayer time, my Bible reading time but all. He’s brought up many things that had existed in me without my knowledge and one by one, I’ve had to let Him strip them away so that there is less of the ‘self’ and more room for Him. I’ve had to surrendered things that I never had problems with before but now, the thought of them just grate against every fibre in my body.
I know it’s not the life that I planned and perhaps that’s why I’m ready to let go. Lord, I just pray that you would bring some other people who are travelling this way to my attention and circle. It feels a tad lonely at times. But would I give it up? No way.
And Lord, help me not to be judgemental of others. Remind me constantly that You have a time and place for everything and just because I’m ‘here’ doesn’t mean everyone else is ready to be ‘here’ yet. Give me Your patience and love so that I can lead others into Your very presence.
I’m Yours… for keeps.